December 2015: « Transition Policies » Series

For an Ecological and Social Transition. Creating social justice while tackling the environmental challenges

By Eloi Laurent (OFCE) and Philippe Pochet (ETUI).

How to accelerate the transition of our economies and societies towards well-being and sustainability?

Alerting on the “climate threat” will not be enough: fear paralyses us more than it enables us to act. A positive and shared narrative is urgently needed, mobilizing the principle of social justice through its proposals. The environmental crises reinforce inequalities, as much as inequalities increase environmental damages.

The authors state that we need to redefine social progress from the environmental point of view, aiming for equality, employment and social care. What tools for environmental justice should we put in place? Will “greening” capitalism be enough? Or do we need a new economic paradigm? Which role to play for the Unions in such transition? How to share the new risks in order to minimize the impact?

This book highlights ten proposals to turn the social and environmental transition into a new democratic horizon.

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December 2015: « Transition Policies » Series

Energy transition: A look at the German way

By Vincent Boulanger

In March 2015, many French regions experienced a pollution peak of fine particles. A rumor spreads on social media: what if this pollution came from the German coal-fired power plants? After all, it would only be logical: Germany decided to phase-out nuclear power, its coal-fired power plants must run 24/7… Yet, Germany launched many years ago an ambitious project: to reduce by 80% at least its green-house gas emissions for 2050 while phasing out nuclear power. This energy transition, or Energiewende, fuels fantasies in France. Some assert that the price of electricity is going through the roof and that Germany is on the edge of global black-out due to the renewable power “cuts”. Others affirm that each and every German household is capable of providing for its own power generation.

This book disentangles truth from falsehood. With this precise and factual study, Vincent Boulanger, a journalist specialized in renewable energies currently living in Germany, helps us to understand the Energiewende: its origins, successes, failures and grey areas. While France just adopted a new law on energy transition, he gives the reader the key elements to draw conclusions from the German experience.

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"Classical Texts" Series

The Social Costs of Private Enterprise

by William Kapp, prefaces by Ignacy Sachs and Jacques Richard

In the early 1950s, K. William Kapp showed that private enterprises transfer some of their social and environmental costs to the entire society. His argumentation was ahead of its time, unwelcomed as Europe and the United States entered an era of mass consumption. In this book, a major contribution to political economy, the author carries out a systematic analysis of the various social costs, demonstrating that they are not isolated phenomena: pollution, unemployment, work accidents, planned obsolescence, all results from the same mechanism in which enterprises discharge themselves of their own responsibilities.

K. William Kapp offers thus a theory of the costs that challenges then-conventional wisdom and sketches a fundamental critic of the traditional economic analysis. Translated into many languages, The Social Costs of Private Enterprise strikes by the prophetic lucidity of its analysis and the relevancy of its theoretical tools.

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